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The Lucky One (A PopEntertainment.com Movie Review)

The Lucky One


Starring Zac Efron, Taylor Schilling, Blythe Danner, Jay R. Ferguson, Riley Thomas Stewart, Joe Chrest, Jillian Batherson, Courtney J. Clark, Adam LeFevre, Robert Terrell Hayes, Russ Comegys, Sharon Morris and Ann McKenzie.

Screenplay by Will Fetters.

Directed by Scott Hicks.

Distributed by Warner Bros. 100 minutes. Rated PG-13.

This movie’s title is certainly prescient.

Zac Efron is a soldier in Iraq who finds a snapshot of a beautiful woman in the rubble. He leans down to pick it up, and in so doing saves himself from being killed.

Sounds awfully lucky to me.

Then, when he returns home, he decides that he wants to find the woman in his photo. Only problem is he has no clue who or where she is. Nonetheless, he travels the country randomly (walking from Colorado to Louisiana!) and while he is passing through some bucolic small town – there she is!!!

That seems amazingly lucky to me.

It turns out that the soldier who lost her picture in Iraq is not her one true forever love – in fact it actually turns out the picture-packing soldier was her brother. (No, that’s not creepy…) Plus, the man she did love is now a mean, angry drunk policeman who she needs to be rescued from. And the whole town, including her surprisingly perceptive grandma, sees old Zac as the perfect antidote. After all, they both love dogs.

Okay, we’re really stretching the boundaries of luck, already.

Welcome back to the world of Nicholas Sparks, where love conquers all, including plot coherence. Only Nicholas Sparks could sell the idea that love is as random as losing and finding a photograph and only his fans could believe it.

Of course, this is the seventh movie (with four more on the way) based on one of his inexplicably popular intimacy-porn books (including The Notebook, Dear John, The Last Song and Message in a Bottle), so apparently there are lots of fans out there. Female fans, mostly, because no man would ever go to any of these films without being dragged there on a date.

Because Nicholas Sparks writes only of love that is so vast that it is fated. It has nothing to do with looks, or luck, or compatibility, or meeting cute, or timing. It is the destiny of Sparks’ heroes and heroines to be together and the world will bend over backwards to make sure it happens.

The Lucky One, indeed.

So, yes, The Lucky One is formula. It is scientifically programmed to make women go “aww….” And in this aspect, it kind of does the job (though it has a far way to go to reach the Sparks-ian nirvana of The Notebook.) None of it is the least bit believable – but it is not supposed to be. The Lucky One is a Lifetime movie on the big screen, without the controversial subplots. (Unless you consider Zac’s Iraq flashbacks as a statement on the war.)

It probably will even work for its intended audience, just like romance novels do. Which essentially is what the movie is. No one expects any great craft from it, and it isn’t there. No man will be caught dead in the audience unless a date wants to see it and he’s trying to get laid. But if they give in to the formula, women will get a cleansing weep from it and then promptly forget it. Which is all The Lucky One ever wanted to do.

Alex Diamond

Copyright ©2012 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: April 20, 2012.

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